What do we do when Christian leaders fall from grace? That happens. The Church is full of good people but it also has some bad people. Besides, good people are human and have weaknesses and shortcomings, which if not dealt with can overwhelm and wipe out all the good things.
A recent example is the conviction of the six leaders of Singapore’s City Harvest Church (CHC) for fraud for using S$50 million (RM155m) to turn the pastor’s wife into a global pop star to attract more followers.
Pastor Kong Hee and his team may have had good intentions but their means to obtain them were certainly questionable. They were found guilty for breaking the law. As Christians, I’m sure they know that they can always appeal to the highest authority above to save their souls. If they can recognize the wrong they have done, and confess it before God and mean it, and so begin to correct themselves, they will be forgiven. That’s Scripture. They may still face consequences, but they will be spared God’s judgement.
I hope CHC members realise this and will not lose faith, and prayerfully decide what to do with their leaders and their church.
The people who suffer most when leaders fail are their followers. They lose faith because they do not expect men and women of God to misbehave. When the latter do, their followers wouldn’t know whether to believe them or not. They lose confidence in the leadership and the only way to overcome is to simply ask their members for forgiveness, take a break from leadership for self-inspection and regeneration, and return a better person. A better person means a better minister.
One of the main reasons why Christian leaders go off on a tangent or lose their focus is because they don’t have peers or other leaders to be accountable to. They are loners at the top. They set themselves up as above the rest and insist on a top-down style of leadership. No one tells them what’s wrong with them! And, that’s the problem.
A church is first and foremost a community where everyone is a brother and a sister to everyone else. If we build relationships as equals, it would be easier for one to alert a brother or sister who may be erring. This is what people do even when they don’t believe in God. They are motivated by love and concern for the other and so are willing to stick their necks out to point out a mistake. As Christians, it should be reinforced because it is a Biblical exhortation.
Matt 18: 14-16 says: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along … .” The epistle of James and many other portions of Scripture stress the need to reach out to and help one another. It is only when we relate that people open up and we receive the right to point out mistakes and to help.
Leaders should take note and start making peer friends and or someone or more to be accountable to in every area of life.
NEXT WEEK: Don’t do what your leaders do!